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Ethereum Dencun Upgrade Set For March 13

Ethereum, the leading smart contract platform and the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, is undergoing a major network upgrade on March 13, 2024.

The upgrade, dubbed Dencun upgrade, is the largest one since the Shanghai upgrade in 2022 and introduces several changes to both the consensus and execution layers of Ethereum.

The word, Dencun is a combination of Deneb, a bright star in the Cygnus constellation, and Cancun, the location of the third Ethereum developer conference (Devcon 3) in 2017.

The name reflects the dual nature of the upgrade, which affects both the beacon chain (the consensus layer) and the shard chains (the execution layer) of Ethereum.

With a main goal of reducing the transaction costs on the layer two (L2) scaling solutions, which are built on top of Ethereum, L2 solutions still need to interact with L1 periodically to settle their transactions and ensure their validity.

This interaction requires paying gas fees on L1, which can be expensive and unpredictable due to the high demand and limited capacity of Ethereum.

See: Ethereum’s Dencun Upgrade Faces Delay on Testnet

The Dencun upgrade also includes other improvements to the Ethereum protocol, such as:

  • EIP-1153: Transient storage opcodes, which allow smart contracts to temporarily store data in memory without affecting the state root.
  • EIP-4788: Beacon block root in the EVM, which allows smart contracts to access the latest beacon block root, enabling cross-shard communication and verification.
  • EIP-5656: MCOPY – Memory copying instruction, which adds a new opcode to the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) for efficient memory copying.
  • EIP-6780: SELFDESTRUCT only in the same transaction, which prevents contracts from self-destructing in a different transaction than the one that created them, avoiding potential reentrancy attacks.
  • EIP-7044: Perpetually Valid Signed Voluntary Exits, which allow validators to exit the beacon chain at any time without waiting for a specific epoch or slot.
  • EIP-7045: Increase Max Attestation Inclusion Slot, which increases the maximum slot for including an attestation on the beacon chain from 32 to 64, improving the liveness and security of the consensus.
  • EIP-7514: Add Max Epoch Churn Limit, which limits the number of validators that can enter or exit the beacon chain per epoch, preventing sudden changes in the validator set size.
  • EIP-7516: BLOBBASEFEE opcode, which allows smart contracts to access the blob base fee of the current shard, enabling dynamic pricing of data.

The Dencun upgrade is scheduled to activate on the mainnet at slot 8626176, which is expected to occur at 13:55 UTC on March 13, 2024.

It has already been successfully tested on all the testnets, including Goerli, Sepolia, and Holesky.

Alsio, the node operators and validators are advised to update their software to the latest versions before the upgrade. The ordinary users and holders of Ether (ETH) do not need to take any action unless instructed by their wallet or exchange providers.

The Dencun upgrade is a significant milestone for Ethereum, as it marks the completion of the first phase of the Ethereum 2.0 roadmap.

The next phase of the roadmap, called Serenity, will focus on merging the existing PoW chain with the PoS beacon chain, and enabling full execution on the shard chains.


Victor Chijoke

Passionate about blockchain, and the decentralized internet. A writer in the morning, goalie in the evening. The aim is to keep my readers informed about the ever-evolving world of web3 with a unique blend of expertise and storytelling.

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